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“Crap From The Past,” a weekly pop music radio show hosted by Ron “Boogiemonster” Gerber, will turn 30 years old on January 28, 2022. Gerber bills the show as "a graduate-level course in pop." The show originates at community-run KFAI-FM in Minneapolis, where it has aired on Friday nights since 2002. The show also airs on affiliates around the globe, including stations in New Zealand, England, and across the U.S. from Alaska to Philadelphia. The show will be celebrating its 30th birthday on-air in the last few weeks in January and the first few weeks in February. Listeners can tune in at www.KFAI.org, and at www.crapfromthepast.com.
Gerber started “Crap From The Past” in 1992, when he was in graduate school at the University of Rochester. As he finished his M.S. (in Optics) in Rochester and got his Ph.D. (in Optics) at the University of Arizona, he continued hosting the show on college and community-run stations in Rochester (WRUR-FM) and Tucson (KAMP, KXCI-FM). In 1997, Gerber accepted an engineering job in Minneapolis, and brought the show to community-run KFAI-FM. KFAI aired “Crap From The Past” initially as an internet-only show, awarded it a Sunday night slot on its airwaves in 1999, and moved it to its current home on Friday nights in 2002. Gerber has spent the last 1,000 Friday nights behind the microphone at KFAI.
Gerber explains, “In 1992, radio stations either played new music, or oldies from the 1960s and earlier, but nothing in between. Nobody played music that was eight or ten years old; there just wasn’t any concept of “retro” back then. I really wanted to play the music of my formative years, from the late ‘70s to the mid-‘80s, which I thought was far better than the pop music of 1992, so I started “Crap From The Past” to do just that.
“It was a huge success, right out of the gate. I started the show in January of 1992. By April, it was up to 100% requests all the time, with the station’s request line ringing even before the show started. At the end of the semester in May, people described hearing “Crap From The Past” blaring from so many dorm rooms that they were able to hear the show continuously as they walked through the building.
“Initially, I just played the hits, and filled in the talk breaks with energetic syllables that kept up a frantic pace for two hours; it was a big party on the air. Over the next few years, I brought more obscurities to the airwaves, and more personality to the talk breaks. And I found that the more of my own personality I brought to the airwaves, the more successful the show became. Nowadays, it’s 100% me on the airwaves, with my musical selections completely representing what I want to listen to, and my on-air delivery being a just-slightly-exaggerated version of myself.” Other people are also along for the ride; the show’s fundraising performance in KFAI pledge drives has consistently ranked in the top ten for over a decade.
Nowadays, Gerber explains that the support from other people motivates him to keep doing the show week after week. “I have a connection to real listeners, like Colin in Liverpool, Tim in Japan, and Karen in France. They’re real people that I’ve met in person or spoken to on the phone, and I’m delighted that they tune in regularly. I have affiliates in New Zealand and England that run the show, where I’m tickled to think that I’m the one with the exotic foreign accent! I have radio friends who can co-host, like Chuck Tomlinson, who used to co-host a similar show called “Cosmic Slop” on college-run Radio K (KUOM-AM/Minneapolis). I have the support of KFAI management, who makes sure I have what I need to do a good show. And I’m part of a whole community of music collectors who end up doing a lot of the crate-digging for me. If they steer a particular song my way, I’ll always give them proper credit on-air.”
“Crap From The Past” airs Friday nights from 10pm to midnight on KFAI-FM, 90.3 FM Minneapolis, and www.KFAI.org. The show’s website, www.crapfromthepast.com, has an archive of all the old shows and playlists, going back to the very first show in 1992. Host Ron “Boogiemonster” Gerber can be reached at ron at crapfromthepast dot com, and will enthusiastically answer questions about the show.
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